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 Post subject: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
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My youngest daughter, has attended morning sessions at montessori since she turned two, and has been going for a year now. Apart from the usual initial separation anxieties, she settled in well, and has been very happy there. She attended summer club, and loved it, and started her new term in September all as normal. By the second week of term, she had suddenly started to hate it. I have struggled to get her there, have to physically carry her through the door kicking and screaming, and instead of it fizzling out like everyone has assured me, it has got to the point that she appears to literally be in terror. This morning in the car park, she tried to crawl under the back of a parked car to avoid going in. I was totally unable to restrain her, and the screams were so horrific, that some of the other parents came to my aid, including one of the staff. I am so worried by this. My husband has wondered whether a child behavioural professional would help, but that seems rather an extreme route to understanding the problem, and she is in general, an extremely strong willed child. What concerns me, is that this particular behaviour has just developed out of the blue, she was happy before, and now she is distraught at the mere mention of 'school'! She goes to a Friday afternoon creche and absolutely loves it, can't wait to get there and I barely get a wave when I drop her there. So why is she so different with this? If anyone has any ideas or similar experiences, I would appreciate your thoughts, thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:50 am 
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Do they tell you she is happy once she is in there? It may be nothing to worry about at all, just some separation anxiety which once you have gone is fine. The only way you will know for certain is by watching. But if she knows you are there it will not be the same.

I would ask if you can hide and watch a session some time. e.g. sit under the counter in the kitchen or behind a curtain on the stage. I have done this!! It was helpful and reassuring. I could see my child was very happy while she was there, and that she preferred to seek out the adults and get them to read to her. Hours of just being left to play with other children in the hall was not really her cup of tea, but she learned something from it nevertheless. I saw that all the staff were lovely to all the children all the time, but that these places could be a bit frantic and overwhelming at times when there are loads of children doing whatever they like in a big echoey hall.

Also I would remember that if you are not working that pre-school is not essential. Only a very good one will do more for your child than being at home with you. The trouble is that so many children do go to pre-school it's hard to find friends for them to play with!

And if it is just separation anxiety then you need to think about how to have the best parting for both her sake and your sake. I found walking to pre-school was best, being greeted by the right teacher who swept her off immediately to do what she liked doing best, and me beating a hasty retreat. Stand and talk to other parents or the teachers in the sight of your child at your peril. Just go and don't look round.

Maybe if you have to drive there park somewhere you can have a nice little walk from hand in hand and talk about the good things she is going to do there.

Sometimes a plan helped -e.g. going in with the intention of doing a lovely picture for Daddy, or a card for Granny, or with something to show the teacher etc etc.

A lot of these places have too many different staff on different days and this is bewildering for a child who likes routine. However, it's all good practice for situations like that later on in life!


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:20 am 
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I had this with my DS2 . He started preschool a bit later, as I had recently had DD when he was due to start and thought it might be a bit too much for him. When I look back and remember him trying to kick down a glass door to get to me ...with out stretched arms , pleading with me and with such a look of panic on his little face, I wonder now why I put him through it. I can feel the tears welling up now. He had a photo taken for a Christmas card, on the first initial days and I can't even look at it now..his expression reminds me of some little Victorian orphan :( I used to get a friend to stay for a bit to check what he was doing and then to report back. Apparently he would just stand there with silent tears streaming down his face. This only lasted for a couple of weeks though.

Like your DD he did enjoy going to a more low key playgroup . He reckons he remembers why he was upset..he says it was the large hall and the amount of children..shouting and shoving. He just doesn't like that sort of thing, even now. Having said that, I did help out at a playgroup and it did amaze me how some children would get in a right old tizz and as their poor mothers were led out, it was like someone had clicked their fingers and they would go from screaming to picking up a paintbrush and calmly painting. They gradually settled and I don't think it's uncommon for children to become unsettled again after a long break. Perhaps she enjoyed the summer with you !

There wasn't an incident of any kind which triggered this off ?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:36 am 
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A few people have mentioned the 'big place' thing, but this place is quite the opposite. It is quite secluded, the place is small, very homely, and the group is small. In fact the environment is very different to the Friday creche. That place is buzzy and chaotic, and very much fend for yourself, whereas the montessori, is quiet, orderly and very disciplined. I did wonder whether that might be the problem, she is quite headstrong, and the montessori staff have often commented on her 'behaviour', and sometimes she has overheard these conversations too. She has often been 'naughty' at school, not doing what she is told, refusing to help pick things up or share etc..whereas at the creche, I am constantly told how wonderfully good she is. There is a lady at the creche she runs to with open arms, she is young, cheerful and friendly. Whereas the montessori staff are more 'stern' and older so to speak. And the staff have not changed, other than she is now in the group of one of the 'sterner' ladies. She says she tells her off a lot! I have spoken with the parents of the other children, and they are all very happy and love the place. In fact, they chose this place because of the calm orderly environment, and that appealed to me too. The only thing I can pinpoint as a point of change, is her moving up to this new group, (although she is still with the same children of course) and the fact that this lady has mentioned her difficult behaviour a few times. Somedays she positively looks weary as if she cannot wait for me to take her home! I do sometimes wonder, whether this 'naughtiness' is an attention ploy, beacuse she is not happy... :?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:52 pm 
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Could she not attend the Friday group , during the week instead of the Montessori ?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Montessori settings do vary alot: there are some excellent ones and some really naff settings out there.
Montessorians are usually keen way to 'follow' the interests of the child- what do the staff say about what they are trying to do to engage her interests? Is it the case that she doesn't seem to like their approach so when the staff present some of the materials, she doesn't want to do it? Really, Montessori teachers are not meant to be high handed but in reality, there are some Montessori teachers who don't like it when children play with the materials in an unorthodox way... :roll:

I know most Montessori nurseries will say that the child is free to play with anything but perhaps there are a limited choice of the types of things that she wants to do- especially if she likes a wider range of role play and sociodramatic play?? Do you feel that as a parent? Is that why she's more settled at the creche?



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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:37 pm 
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I'd ask for a different key worker or pull her out.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:17 pm 
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That's an interesting question DIY mum, I have to admit I don't know much about the montessorian ethos, but your comment on the limited playthings montessori seems to have versus her love of sociodramatic type roleplay is something I had not thought of. At creche there is a huge variety of toys..anything goes. And she plays dress up, doctors and nurses, and all by her own choice. So perhaps the montessori structured style of play, is something she is not happy with. They have a timetable, so it is definitely more structured than creche. Although there are various daily activities I know she enjoys, like dancing, football etc., it is not enough to make her happy to go without a huge distressing fuss! The creche place does have morning nursery, but like most places around here, there is a waiting list.
It's a difficult one, the group leader says she is always fine after I have left, which is always a relief, but when I ask my daughter, she says no she doesn't like school, and doesn't want to go anymore. And that is something that is repeated throughout the day..everyday :(


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Oh whether it's Montessori or not this woman sounds as though your daughter finds her a bit of a dragon; but as well as being a dragon it isn't resulting in your daughter producing whatever behaviour that she wants. Do you or daughter understand what she wants? Is the behaviour she is wanting something that you feel would be useful for your daughter? My daughter always resented tidy-up time as she hated picking up other people's mess and she doesn't make much mess herself. Not very team spirited I know but I don't think that being told off for not tidying up 3 times a day at school will endear her to tidying up, whereas being rewarded when she actually does, or it being fun or enjoyable in some way, would.

I'd be bothered if my daughter was coming home from pre-school feeling "told-off" quite often. It would suggest to me that this woman is not engaging with her successfully. Maybe things will settle in as at the moment they are both having to get used to one another and it's a two way thing. Does this woman try and find out from you what makes your daughter tick if she is having difficulty with her behaviour? Maybe you should arrange to meet with her if that's possible and find out what is going on. She might not like to say that she can't manage your daughter so might be very grateful for a chat which enlightens her. But until you have secretly watched you are clutching at straws.

I really think that going on the spy mission first will help. It's very hard interpreting the messages that a 2 ,3 or 4 year old is giving you, and even harder understanding nursery workers! If you see it for yourself you'll maybe be reassured or enlightened about how to improve the situation, or whether to up sticks elsewhere. You need to ask for the spy mission before they think you might be unhappy with the place.

Maybe the other parents like it because their children click with the dragon, or maybe they just really don't care, or maybe they're a bit stuffy and that's why they chose the place. I've rarely found that other parents' opinions fit with mine at nursery school or primary school. I'm hoping for better luck at senior school. :?


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 Post subject: Re: Pre-school problems
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Your reference to not being very team spirited about picking up other people's mess made me chuckle. That is my daughter to a tee..she sometimes clears up her own though, but only ever by her own initiative. I have had a few chats with this lady about how 'strong-willed' my daughter is, and yes she really is quite a force to reckon with sometimes. I do know that, and I guess this lady finds it difficult. She mentions that she ignores her when asked to do something, or when they are out walking or playing games in the field, she says she sometimes refuses to participate in the way they want her to. She likes to do her own thing, and does not like being told what to do. I guess I had hoped that the order and discipline of montessori would help in that regard. It did for a while, but as her independance has grown, so seemingly has her dislike for being asked to conform!


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